Fight Like A Girl: Rest In Peace, Frehley

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Even though I knew this news was coming, when I read the update from Frehley’s family on Sunday evening I paused and wept. Tears for the pain of the finality of their loss. Tears for the dreams for their daughter that will go unfulfilled. But, also, tears for the peace that their precious daughter now feels in Heaven, in a new body that is cancer-free.

It is with a broken heart that we make this post, Frehley has received her wings as she left us this evening and went to Heaven. She has been such a strong spirit to us and everyone who she met. She faced her opposition and fought it tooth and nail, and truly “Stayed Strong” until the very end! Though we are very sad right now, we take comfort knowing that she is at peace and her fight is over. We thank every one of you who have prayed for, loved, and supported Frehley.

There really are no words to express the emotions most of us parents feel when reading about the death of a child, especially when you know the people involved. Please, keep Frehley’s family in your thoughts and prayers, now and in the weeks and months to come. Their need for love, support and encouragement has not ended. Indeed, a hug or kind word or note is going to be just as important for them as they go through their grieving process. To leave an encouraging word for the Gilmore family you can go to the Stay Strong Frehley Facebook page.

 

In case you are new to my blog and didn’t read the previous posts about Frehley here are the links.

1. Fight Like A Girl: A Matter of Perspective

2. Fight Like A Girl: Update on Frehley

Fight Like A Girl: Update on Frehley

As many of you will recall, near the end of May I shared the story of Frehley Gilmore, the daughter of my friend AJ. She has been fighting brain cancer for the last three years and her parents had just received the devastating news that the cancer was spreading and that there was nothing more that could be done for her medically. At that point they decided to make a “bucket list” with Frehley to help make as many memories in whatever time they had left with her. I’m happy to report that many items were crossed off her list. A week long trip to California in June included a visit to the San Diego Zoo, Legoland and Disneyland. She also got to meet Hank the Milwaukee Brewers dog, go to Chicago for a few days, see a show at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and attend Summerfest in Milwaukee. Her family even hosted a birthday bash for her on her golden birthday, July 12, that ended with a spectacular fireworks display (I wasn’t there but I saw video and photographic evidence). 

Frehley at Summerfest

Frehley at Summerfest

Unfortunately, as expected, the medical news is not so good. With AJ’s permission, I wanted to give you all an update on Frehley. He wrote this in a message to me a few days ago.

Her tumors have grown and the cancer is progressing. Though her spirit continues to fight, her body is wearing out, and her battle is nearing its end. Please pass on to your readers that we would like to thank all of the people who have been thinking kind thoughts and saying prayers for Frehley. She rests comfortably.

And here’s the latest post on the “Stay Strong Frehley Facebook Page“, composed by her mom, Lisa.

I am in awe at all the love and support we are receiving, I want you all to know how much we love each and every one of you and only wish the best for all the amazing people supporting my little girl! Hugs from Frehley and her family. Frehley continues to rest peacefully and is continuing to hold on. My husband said something that makes some sense the other day. She continues to fight because that is what she has been doing for 3 years battling and fighting and we think she just doesn’t know how to stop fighting. I just want her to be at peace and know that it is ok to stop fighting and continue to bring her spunk and wittiness to heaven and always show us that we know she will be ok with spreading her wings and bringing us rays of sunshine!
 
Take a moment to reread what her mom and dad wrote. About their twelve year old daughter. But, look deeper. Look at the courage they’re showing in how they’re dealing with this. To the very end both of them are focusing on the peace and well being of their daughter while looking at how she’s going to spread her wings in heaven. Please, if you’re of the praying persuasion, please keep this family in your prayers. Now and in the weeks and months to come. Frehley, you are loved by many who will never meet you. God bless you, sweet girl, as you prepare to make your final journey…to heaven. You will be missed but not forgotten. 
Frozen Lake at Mt. Rainier National Park

Frozen Lake at Mt. Rainier National Park

PS-I made this sign and took it with me on a hike at Mt. Rainier with my son on Saturday. The mountain is a sacred and spiritual place for me. I could think of no better way to honor the inspiration that I’ve drawn from Frehley’s courageous fight than to bring her message to the mountain. Stay Strong, Frehley.

Fight Like A Girl: A Matter of Perspective

Monday night I opened up the laptop and sat down to write a blog entry. I’d been kicking around a few ideas for a good rant. I thought about writing my thoughts about the terrible shooting in Santa Barbara, California last Friday and the related issues of misogyny, mental illness and gun control. I also considered going off about my lousy backyard neighbor whose puppy escaped his yard and attacked several of my chickens in my backyard earlier in the day. I even considered unloading some thoughts about parents who shout and scream at their children in public as their form of discipline. Yet, nothing really worked for me as I sat there. My heart and mind just weren’t in it. Instead of trudging onward I closed the laptop and went to bed. As I laid there, I realized what I needed to write about; what was bothering me. It was the status update of my friend, AJ.

Well, results of Frehley’s MRI last Friday have shown that the tumors are continuing to grow…. It was our last visit at children’s hospital today, there is nothing more they can do on a medicine point of view. We will truly miss the oncology team at Childrens, they have been our saviors for the last 2+ yrs. They did say they may come for a home visit. As of today we will discontinue chemo meds and continue with just keeping Frehley comfortable. Lisa is taking the summer off of work to be with Frehley, She is doing ok….. we are working on a bucket list of things to do this summer. We will keep you posted on all our adventures. We continue to be in awe of all the support we receive from our friends, family and community. Please STAY STRONG FOR US we are going to need it.
Frehley is his 11 year old daughter. For more than two years she’s been bravely fighting a brain tumor. Her family and friends have rallied around her as she has received many treatments. Her friends started a Facebook page called “Stay Strong Frehley“. T-shirts were sold with the slogan “Fight Like a Girl” across the front. She even got to meet her idol, Selena Gomez. All in an effort to give Frehley encouragement and strength in her battle. While I’ve never met Frehley, I can tell you from following her story these last few years that she is one tough kid. Along with countless others, I’ve been praying for her to beat this. But, barring a miracle, she’s not going to win this battle. I cannot begin to imagine the wide spectrum of emotions AJ and his wife, Lisa, are experiencing right now as they are coming to terms with the fact that there is nothing more that can be done medically for their daughter. For me, as a father of six, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. I guess it took reading this terrible news about Frehley to shake me a bit, to help give me a little perspective. Those other blog topics can wait. They’re not really that important. I can write about them another time, if at all. But, for me, what really matters right now is thinking about what’s important in my life. It’s far too easy to take things like health and loved ones for granted. Sure, we’ve all lost loved ones, maybe even watched them die. We’ve all experienced times of sickness, maybe even extended sickness. But, for the most part, we’ve recovered and moved on with life. It would be easy to get depressed thinking about how sad it is that this young girl is going die way before her time. Instead, I’d like to challenge each of you, including myself, to use Frehley’s story as inspiration and motivation to shake out of the day-to-day routine and refocus yourself. Live. Love. Laugh. Appreciate. Make a family bucket list and start crossing items off as you make memories together.
While I’m not going to pretend to be close friends with AJ and his family, I can assure you that I’m going to continue praying for them as they go through this difficult time. Please note that I asked for and received permission from AJ before sharing Frehley’s story with you. Please share this story with others so that Frehley and her family may be encouraged. I’m sure that they would appreciate knowing that you’re staying strong for them, as well.